Reporter April Ryan tried to argue on Monday that "urban areas" are disproportionately impacted by the gas price crisis and even suggested that race played a role.
But not even Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm bought it.
At the White House press briefing, Ryan claimed without evidence that urban communities did not benefit from government action when gas prices were sky-high last year.
"When the president did release the strategic oil reserves .... there were some communities that felt the relief. Other communities did not, particularly those in urban areas; there was price gouging, etc.," Ryan began. "Could you explain why there was such a difference in communities with gas prices in one community versus the other?
In response, Granholm noted that there was a difference — but in rural communities.
"If you’re not near a refinery, that’s another reason why the transportation costs are tacked on at the pump," she said. "So you’re seeing, for example, when refineries go down in regions, then the prices go up in those regions much more than they would nationwide."
01/23/23: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierreyoutu.be
Not satisfied, Ryan then explicitly invoked race.
"But specifically, the urban areas. Because there was still a big pinch in urban areas with these gas prices when the outlying communities, particularly majority white communities, were seeing the drop to $3, and many of these urban areas were seeing $4 and $5 gas prices. Could you speak to that?" she followed up.
Granholm, however, did not buy the purported connection.
The secretary informed Ryan that most gas stations are owned by individuals and reiterated that price gouging is illegal. But it was difficult for Granholm to give a substantive response because Ryan made her claims without supporting evidence.
Earlier in the briefing, a reporter confronted Granholm about the Biden administration's double standard on gas prices. When they were high last year, Biden blamed Russia. But he took credit when they decreased.
With gas prices increasing again, the reporter asked, "The president took credit for the prices coming down. ... Does the president get credit for the price of gas going up?"
Granholm responded that "obviously" the price increase is "based upon international and climate events."
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